By Emre Asikci and Muhammed Enes Calli
ANKARA (AA) - The European side of Istanbul is set to host one of the most important derbies of Turkish football this weekend as two of Istanbul’s “Big Three” will clash to gain an advantage in the title race of Super Lig.
Vodafone Park will host the Week 19 game between Besiktas and Galatasaray for the most anticipated match of the week in Turkey, starting at 1600 GMT on Sunday.
The expected bad weather in Istanbul on match day would affect both side's game plan on the field. There will be no home advantage for Besiktas due to the lack of fans in the Vodafone Park for the coronavirus concerns.
- Besiktas impressive lately
Besiktas have been impressive with their recent form having surpassed expectations in the 2020-2021 season, despite some valuable players leaving the club at the beginning of the season.
In addition to the departure of some important players such as Gokhan Gonul, Caner Erkin, and Burak Yilmaz, the club also made a bad start to the season. They were eliminated by Greek football club PAOK in the UEFA Champions League's second qualifying round.
They were also knocked out of the UEFA Europa League in the third qualifying round, Portugal's Rio Ave eliminated the Istanbul club.
The Black-Eagles only recorded one win in the first four league matches, but then they increased their performance by winning a total of 10 matches in the last 13 games.
Besiktas currently lead Super Lig with 35 points in 17 matches, having six victories in eight matches at home.
Vincent Aboubakar, who previously played for Besiktas in the 2016-2017 season, scored nine goals this season to help his club move to first place.
Canadian forward Cyle Larin has been in incredible form with 14 goals in all competitions.
- Diagne nets 11 goals for Lions this season
After a rocky start to the league, the visitors Galatasaray sealed eight wins in the last 12 games.
They are currently two points behind Fenerbahce and Besiktas while they seek to beat city rivals to be in the title race.
Mbaye Diagne is the Lions' top scorer this season with 11 goals in 18 matches.
- Cakir to referee derby
Cuneyt Cakir will take charge of Sunday's derby. A total of two players were sent off by Cakir, while 41 yellow cards were used to punish the players in eight derby games.
Cakir, 44, refereed in five Galatasaray wins and two Besiktas victories so far.
- Galatasaray slightly better in derbies
Playing the first game between Galatasaray and Besiktas at Taksim Stadium in Istanbul Football League on Aug. 22, 1924, the Black-Eagles defeated Lions with a 2-0 score.
Galatasaray's first victory was on July 31, 1925, with a hammering 6-1 score.
Out of the 349 meetings between the two Turkish sides, Galatasaray mainly dominated the fixture with 122 victories compared to Besiktas's 112, while the remaining 115 times have ended in draws.
The Yellow-Reds also lead the goal count, having produced 484 goals in reply to Besiktas's 446.
In the 123 league games, Galatasaray claimed 45 victories, Besiktas had 35 wins, and 43 games ended in a draw.
Under the helm of Fatih Terim, Galatasaray made 32 appearances against Besiktas as the Lions won in 12 games and drew in 13, and lost in seven.
Both sides' fans broke all attendance records in Turkish football history.
A total of 76,127 people packed into Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Sept. 22, 2013, eclipsing the previous mark of 70,125 in a game between Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray in the same place on Sept. 21, 2003.
Although Galatasaray dominated derby games for years, the rise of the Black-Eagles has made the rivalry even more thrilling in recent years.
Besiktas clinched five games and lost three games in the last 10 games against Galatasaray, while they scored 11 goals and conceded nine goals.
- Lions' market value bigger than Black- Eagles
According to the German football database website Transfermarkt, the Yellow-Reds' market value is $85.8 million, while the Black-Eagles was value tallied with $82.80 million.
Galatasaray's Brazilian defender Marcao is currently the most valuable player on both sides with $13.20 million.
Joining Galatasaray from Portugal's GD Chaves in 2019, Marcao helped the team to win one Turkish Super Lig title, one Turkish Super cup, and one Turkish Cup title.
The 24-year-old scored one goal and one assist in 79 games for the Lions.
- Last 10 official games (Galatasaray vs. Besiktas)
|08.05.2016||Turk Telekom||Super Lig||0-1|
|13.08.2016||Konya BSB||TFF Super Cup||1-1 (Pen.3-0|
|24.09.2016||Vodafone Park||Super Lig||2-2|
|27.02.2017||Turk Telekom||Super Lig||0-1|
|02.12.2017||Vodafone Park||Super Lig||0-3|
|29.04.2018||Turk Telekom||Super Lig||2-0|
|02.12.2018||Vodafone Park||Super Lig||0-1|
|05.05.2019||Turk Telekom||Super Lig||2-0|
|27.10.2019||Vodafone Park||Super Lig||0-1|
|15.03.2020||Turk Telekom||Super Lig||0-0|
- Matchday 19 Fixtures:
Genclerbirligi vs. Fatih Karagumruk: 1-3
Konyaspor vs. Goztepe
Basaksehir vs. Sivasspor
Gaziantep FK vs. Kayserispor
Antalyaspor vs. Trabzonspor
Denizlispor vs. Hatayspor
Yeni Malatyaspor - Caykur Rizespor
Besiktas - Galatasaray
Kasimpasa - B.B. Erzurumspor
Fenerbahce - MKE Ankaragucu